Mesa firefighters, staff and volunteers knocked on the doors of 400 Mesa homes Saturday morning to test smoke detectors, replace old ones and help raise awareness about fire safety.
This is the 12th year the Mesa Fire Department has kicked off National Fire Prevention Week — which starts today — by providing the free service.
The 28 firefighters and volunteers held down buttons, tested batteries and made sure smoke detectors were connected properly.
They also distributed pamphlets on fire safety in English and Spanish.
Martin and Joanna Marquez of Mesa didn’t know their smoke detectors weren’t working properly.
"You just get so busy with work and everyday life you don’t take the time to check those things out," Joanna Marquez said.
Volunteers replaced two detectors at the Marquez home and put new batteries in another. The couple said they feel better knowing they and their three children are safer.
"For something as simple as the cost of a battery, you can help protect the safety of your family, your home and your property," Joanna Marquez said. "But most people don’t even think about it."
Most fires happen at night, when people are sleeping, said fire and life safety specialist Michelle Adamczyk. "If there is a fire in the home, it will help people get out in time," she said.
The homes inspected received fliers in the mail alerting them that volunteers would be in the area Saturday. A neighborhood near Stapley Drive and Broadway Road was selected, Adamczyk said.
"Response to the program was very positive," said Neil Scofield, a volunteer and Mesa Community College student.
He said people were most impressed that the service was free and that many of the volunteers were bilingual.
"One couple saw us in their neighborhood and thought we had passed their house," he said. "They came looking for us."
Scofield changed the batteries on their detectors and made sure they were working properly.
"Every year, especially around the holiday season, you hear about people losing their homes or their loved one in a fire," Scofield said. "This can help prevent what could be a sad story."
According to the National Fire Protection Association, smoke alarms should be tested once a month, batteries should be changed once a year and any smoke alarm that is more than 10 years old should be replaced.